Guest commentary: Listen to credible experts on value of fluoridation

Dr. Johnny Johnson's master' thesis, on the fluoride content of infant formulas, was published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. Read more at

Dr. Johnny Johnson's master' thesis, on the fluoride content of infant formulas, was published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. Read more at

Dr. Johnson's master' thesis, on the fluoride content of infant formulas, was published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. Read more at

Dr. Johnson's master' thesis, on the fluoride content of infant formulas, was published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. Read more at

Credible scientific data supporting the safety, effectiveness and cost savings of optimally fluoridated water is overwhelmingly positive. In addition, the list of credible scientific groups which endorse or recognize the dental health benefits of optimally fluoridated water is impressive: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, a number of U.S. surgeons general and dozens of other scientific and consumer groups.

By contrast, absolutely no credible, scientific group supports or endorses the claims made by those who oppose community water fluoridation. Not one.

So, with the total lack of credible evidence against optimal fluoridation, why are some still opposed?

Simply put, the opposition allows illogical personal opinions to override credible scientific facts.

While opinions can either be in agreement with credible scientific facts or not, they will always be just opinions. Legitimate scientific research follows the scientific method to ensure results that are accurate, valid and reliable. Opinions have no such rules to follow. Legitimate scientific research is published in peer-reviewed, refereed journals for evaluation of accuracy, validity and reliability. Opinions merely are expressed.

One thing is crystal clear, however: Credible science is based in fact, not opinions. Thankfully, opinions cannot trump facts.

Elected officials are called upon to serve the best interest of our community’s families. This is a very tough task, as they make decisions about so many diverse issues, such as transportation, education, health, etc.

No elected official can be an expert in all areas. Instead, our elected officials rely upon credible experts to provide briefings and insights on these diverse issues.

It’s critical that our elected officials make policy and decisions based on evidence, not based on the number of positive or negative emails they receive, or on information that someone has read on the Internet, or on their own personal opinions.

Collier County commissioners have unfortunately been faced with a campaign of misinformation on fluoridation much as Pinellas County experienced in 2011. In Pinellas, those opposing optimal fluoridation were preliminarily able to convince four of seven county commissioners to believe the junk science and science fiction that they barraged upon them. These four commissioners assumed that the loudest voices in the room represented the opinions of the majority, but they did not.

Upon a request for more information after the vote, Pinellas’ dental and medical communities stepped up to educate the four commissioners on the credible science supporting community water fluoridation. The information shared with them showed the 68-year safety record of fluoridation in the U.S, and highlighted the more than 3,000 juried research studies and documents whose data provides overwhelming support for fluoride’s safety and effectiveness.

The opposition’s science fiction was addressed and debunked by the credible science. However, at the end of this educational blitz, the four commissioners chose not to change their vote, now taking a new position of less governmental intervention.

In the November 2012 election, two of the four county commissioners were subsequently replaced by two pro-fluoride candidates. Pinellas’ “silent majority” sent a tremendous wake-up call to our officials by removing these two incumbent commissioners based on their decision to cease fluoridation. At the first commission meeting after the new commissioners were sworn in, fluoridation was voted to resume in Pinellas County.

Also within the last year, three Pinellas County cities (Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park) held meetings concerning continuation (Dunedin) or initiation of fluoridation (Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park). Consistently, the same opposition to fluoridation showed up at each of these meetings and bombarded commissioners with emails. Despite the opposition’s frenetic efforts to thwart fluoridation, the community officials in these cities listened to qualified scientific experts and voted in favor of fluoridation for their families’ health and well-being.

Everyone benefits from community water fluoridation, regardless of age, sex, race or economic level. It causes no adverse health effects for anyone. More than 205 million U.S. residents are served by community water fluoridation daily, and that number continues to grow.

I urge the Collier County Commission to do the right thing for your families. Listen to the experts. Dismiss the junk science. Learn from other communities that have faced the same issue you are facing. I urge you to continue providing your community with the only magic bullet we have available to fight the most common childhood disease: dental cavities.

Please vote to continue to fluoridate Collier County’s water system for the benefit of all citizens, and especially for those most in need.

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

nyscof writes:

Fluoridation Opposition is Scientific, Respectable & Growing

More than 4,400 professionals (including 343 dentists and 538 MD’s) urge that fluoridation be stopped because fluoridation is ineffective and harmful. See statement:

Most dentists are trained to use politics and not science to promote fluoridation, according to Armfield and Melbye in the Journal of the American Dental Association . The researchers write: "Studies of dentists' attitudes about water fluoridation suggest that a lack of knowledge and preparedness are barriers to discussing the topic ... more than one-half of the respondents believed they needed more information and training on the issue.

Armfield and Melbye postulate that: "Dentists' lack of self-efficacy with respect to critically evaluating scientific literature may help to explain their reluctance to promote water fluoridation in their clinical practices." Other studies how dentists don’t keep current on new fluoride science, e.g. this research by Yoder

Dr. Yolanda Whyte, a primary care pediatrician, explains why she no longer supports water fluoridation.

Fluoridation is an "unacceptable risk," says Public Health Professor Niyi Awofeso (Public Health Ethics,August 2012). He writes, "There is insufficient ethical justification for artificial water fluoridation" because no evidence supports the assertion that artificial fluoridation reduces social disparities in cavity incidence, fluoridation’s effectiveness is questionable, potential adverse effects of fluoride, such as hypothyroidism and bone fractures, have been reported in scholarly journals and fluoridation chemicals are contaminated with lead, arsenic and mercury.

In 2006, a National Research Council expert panel published a fluoride report which revealed that fluoride, even at low doses added to water supplies, can be especially harmful to the thyroid gland, kidney patients, babies, seniors and people who drink high amounts of water. They also revealed critical fluoride safety studies have never been done and studies linking fluoride to cancer and lower IQ are plausible.

Thirty-six human studies now link fluoride to lowered IQ, some at levels considered safe in the US. See:

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